Read On For Waterfalls: The Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is spectacular in it’s own right, but the dozens of waterfalls spilling from the Cascade Range into the Columbia River are perhaps the most impressive. Somehow in all Tom’s travels he never made it to the Gorge so I made it my mission for us to see the highlights. We camped at the lovely Ainsworth State Park located at the eastern end of the Historic Columbia River Highway; from here we had easy access to the plethora of waterfalls and trails to the west as well as the more arid uplands to the east – though these too hosted multiple waterfalls. In addition to a quiet camp spot, Ainsworth also had more than enough in the way of trails to keep Allie and I happy on our morning and evening walks.
Though we only spent 3 days in the Gorge we covered quite a bit of ground, seeing at least 10 different waterfalls and hiking at least 3 hours a day in addition to some general roadside sightseeing along the historic Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. There were a few waterfalls further back in the mountains that I had wanted to hike to since my first trip in 2013 but we had a fantastic visit and I was able to see some new-to-me places so no regrets.
Other than all the hiking and waterfalls we made a stop on our second day at Bonneville Dam where we read briefly about the construction of the New Deal-era dam and hydroelectric facility before heading to the fish viewing area below the administration building to watch salmon, steelhead, and other fish head upstream via the fish ladder. According to the docent there weren’t many fish that day but Tom and I happily watched the dozen or so over the course of about fifteen minutes. Prior to this we’d also seen the aboveground structure of the ladder, notable for it’s size and length but without the angle to see the actual fish.